An object from the past

We went to the Herbert Gallery to have a look at objects from the past, an archive that remembers the history of Coventry. We were asked to pick one object that intrigued us, and then talk about it.

I choose the Harrington jacket. A classic fashion object, symbolic from its delicate styling formula of cotton, elastic cuffs and a frontal zip. It was said that jacket was worn by the fans of two-tone music. Even though it is interesting to see the popularity of this particular jacket with 1970’s ska music, it was even more interesting to know that the jacket is still as fashionable as it was then. I see them stacked on the selves of countless retailers, and on the shoulders of many fashion conscious individuals. But it wasn’t always associated with fashionables. The Harrington jacket was originally worn by golfers, designed to aid their swing and give them more room to put balls in the side facing pockets. But its market was not as niche as first thought. It was worn by highly regarded figures in popular culture, which immortalised the jacket in British fashion culture. To see it being included in the archive of the Herbert gallery in the context of two-tone music expresses its importance, but also its versatility. It was incredibly important to the culture of ska listens and became an excepted uniform for the genre. Even though it was strongly linked to that sub-culture, it hasn’t stopped it from moving to different genres. Damon Albarn of Blur wears harrington jackets, as well as the Gallagher brothers and more contemporary figures like as Olly Murs. These public figures have helped the jacket stay in the public eye, and immortalised it as a traditional British jacket.

Drucquer, A (2013) Lyle and Scott


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